W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's only possible with China:


The world's factory

The source of cheap products

The source of many cheap DIY-ish audio products.

A lot of China-originated audio equipment look as though they can be made from ground up by an individual. Kit enclosures, through-hole parts, wires connecting sockets to PCB, I won't be surprised if even the holes are manually drilled.

Apart from the obvious lack of R&D (how often do you see SMPS, discrete output stage, programmable microcontroller in these devices?), these often small-scale makers don't have the economics of scale to have an automated production line. So no SMD parts also - many companies claim through-hole components and hand-soldering are better, but these are just excuses for having to use humans for production, I've seen soldering jobs worse than mine more than once, and I'm a poor solderer with my POS iron.

Or, is it because labour is so cheap in China, that everyone choose to optimize their production for humans? Hence lots of those parts for DIY are being made. No chassis made exclusively for any product; everybody use similar boxes here and there. Try to recall a Chinese product that isn't industrial like.

On the good side, lots of makers can build products from scratch. On the bad side, lots of makers are building their products from scratch, and there's a limit to how much individuals can do.

So we'll never see a Chinese DAC that costs over SGD$500 (China price) without some sort of cheat factor involved (like tube, for example). Actually, not much choice exists at over 2500RMB anyway, and only a few have a relatively long history of making DACs. Even so, without at least 10 years of experience in design, it's hard to demand too much money.

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